Do It Yourself

7 Unexpected Items You Can Use As Urban Survival Tools




No one ever plans on ending up stranded in a survival situation.

Even if you're the world's savviest survivalist, you can still be caught of guard and have to make do without your gear.

Luckily, there are some unexpected items that can aid in your efforts to stay alive.

Seemingly useless and random objects that can make the difference between life and death- now all you need is some luck.

Read on to lear how to use improvised items(dental floss, condoms, bandanas, wristwatches, soda cans, shoe laces, and cell phones) as survival gear.


1. Dental Floss

This sturdy string that sometimes makes your gums bleed can be used as a fishing line or a snare to catch small animals. Floss can also be used to bind items that can be used for shelter and protection, such as sticks. Want to learn how to turn floss into a bird trap? Check this out:


2. Condoms

Imagine this: you're stranded without water for an extended period of time and then finally find some water… but are still stranded. Well, you're going to want to keep moving and you'll surely want to bring that water you found with you. Here's how to make your own condom water carrier:


3. Bandana

The uses of a bandana may seem obvious, but this item can do a lot more than you think. Bandanas can aid breathing, serving as a filter when conditions are dusty or cold. In both hot and cold conditions, they can hold in heat or reduce heat gain. Bandanas can also be used to strain water, and as a tourniquet for wounds… as you probably already figured. For a demonstration of twenty uses, take a look at this:


4. Wristwatch

No, you probably won't care much about the time of the day when you're trying to survive, but a wristwatch can help you in a way you probably never imagined. If you don't have a compass, a wristwatch can serve the same purpose! Learn how here:


5. Soda Can

If you happen to have one of these, or come across one that has been littered on the ground, you're in luck. An empty soda can can be used to collect water, start a fire, or you can convert the tab into a fish hook. Assuming you have a knife or something sharp, you can even make a “stove” out of a soda can! Watch this:


6. Shoe Laces

Other than tying objects together for various purposes such as shelter, when paired with sticks and wood, shoe laces can be used to start a fire or make a raft. Laces can also make a pretty good fishing line. But best of all, laces can be used in climbing trees. Watch this clip from Man vs. Wild to see how it's done:


7. Cell Phone

You likely won't be able to call someone… but your phone is made up of many parts that can be useful in survival. Here's how to use them.


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  1. steve

    April 7, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    This was actually really well thought out, I would not have guess floss would have been tough enough to fish with! Using video to convey these ideas helped too. Good job on you

  2. Saltporkdoc

    April 8, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    Excellant, practical and well presented ideas!
    I won’t feel quite as vulnerable the next time I’m “out & about” without my full survival kit!

  3. Pingback: 7 Unexpected Items You Can Use As Urban Survival Tools | The DayOne Gear Blog

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  5. brent

    April 21, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    one thing i see missing is locking pliers (vice grips) one of the best multi tools you can use.

  6. Great Grey

    April 22, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    About the Watch
    The watch needs to be set to local solar noon not time zone noon for the most accurate directions. Where I live should be in the mountain time zone not the central time zone and solar noon can be more than 40 minutes different from time zone noon not to mention anything about daylight time that can add even more time to the error. But, if it is the only time piece you have, I would not reset it. As all you need to do is use the point on the dial is where the hour hand is pointing at solar noon for your 12 o’clock position.
    find you local info here

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  18. Yosemite

    September 19, 2019 at 4:31 AM

    What about placing a stick in clear ground and using pebbles to mark the shadow where it lies when you first place the stick and then place a pebble when the shadow moves.

    The Sun always moves and sets in the West… you can track the Sun’s movement and figure out the direction of movement. Knowing one direction only you can easily figure out the other Three.

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